Burgard Bulldogs (4-5)
Coach: Jason Kolb, 16th season
Home field: Dingboom Field
Program founded: 1930
Outlook: The Bulldogs may not have as much skill as in recent years, but Kolb thinks the noticeable commitment and leadership of this year’s senior class should have Burgard in the thick of the playoff race come October. All five starters are back along the offensive line, which should help alleviate the production lost from departed playmakers Dominic Prince and Dajean McCullough. Senior QB/CB Tony Maple will take a larger role on offense both throwing and running. Seniors Jovanni Feggans (TE/LB), Jeremiah Moss (OL/DL) and Marr’ece Archie (C/LB) are standouts on both sides of the ball. Junior running back Damien Starks is up after a nice year on JV.
Sept. 1 vs. Medina (R), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. East Aurora/Holland (R), 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Lewiston-Porter, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Cheektowaga (R), 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Bennett (R), 1 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Cheektowaga Warriors (9-1)
Coach: Mike Fatta, sixth season
Home field: No name
Program founded: 1934
Outlook: Fatta tries to avoid using players on both sides of the ball, so he has prioritized offense the past few seasons and used the rest of the roster to fill the defense. With All-WNY first teamers Eric Bartnik and Stephan Parker gone at quarterback and receiver, respectively, the defense should play a bigger role. All-league performers back include offensive linemen Tariq Whitaker and Terrance Bass, defensive ends Ka’Sean Anthony and John Sweat, and middle linebacker Adam Bellaus. Taking over at QB is 5-foot-8 junior Keshone Beal, who went undefeated on JV for two years. Running back Michael Gray III and wide receivers Tommy Zolnowski and Jaquan Bush are his main offensive weapons. Fatta needs seven wins to reach 50.
Sept. 2 vs. Lewiston-Porter, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Sweet Home, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Alden, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Burgard (R), 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. East Aurora/Holland, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
East Aurora/Holland (5-4)
Coach: John Swiniuch, first season
Home field: Blue Devils Stadium
Program founded: circa 1922
Outlook: Swiniuch takes over after serving the last 12 seasons as defensive coordinator under Tim Wade. Holland senior Paul Nellis inherits the quarterback job after serving as the backup last season. Nellis and senior fullback/defensive end Jon Anstett are team captains. Senior Colin Russell will be the primary running back and also play middle linebacker on defense. Sophomore free safety Jack Rogers is among the underclassmen who could make an impact. Every game will be away due to ongoing stadium renovations that aren’t due to be completed until November. A plan to celebrate senior night is still in the works.
Sept. 1 at Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton (Brocton), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Burgard (R), 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Dunkirk, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Lewiston-Porter, 7 p.m.
Lewiston-Porter Lancers (2-6)
Coach: Matt Bradshaw, first season
Home field: Blakeslee Stadium
Program founded: Unknown
Outlook: Bradshaw is the second new coach for the Lancers in as many years. The core of junior lineman Joe Powers and seniors Dylan Morrissette, William Duff, Michael Allender and Cody Fouts will be vital in a tough division. Duff will be the feature back on offense while splitting carries with Morrissette on a game-to-game basis. Allender, a receiver and cornerback, went to states in the 100 meters last year. Powers goes 6-foot-1, 230 pounds and came into camp in phenomenal shape. Fouts is a tight end on offense and middle linebacker on defense. Senior Brendan Perreault sits ahead of sophomore JP Stewart in a tight battle at QB.
Sept. 2 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Newfane, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. Burgard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Wilson, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Pioneer, 6 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. East Aurora/Holland 7 p.m.
Maryvale Flyers (6-2)
Coach: Jeff Buccieri, seventh season
Home field: Maryvale Stadium
Program founded: 1953
Outlook: Continuity in the offensive backfield and along the offensive line should bode well for the Wing-T attack led by sophomore QB Connor Desiderio. The 6-foot-1 signal caller earned honorable mention All-WNY honors after passing for 886 yards and 12 TDs as a freshman. Joining him in the backfield will be senior Dylan Casey and junior Rashad Law. Casey had 10 total TDs and ran for more than 400 yards last season. Law scored seven times and also starred on defense in his hybrid safety/linebacker role. Buccieri said Law was timed at 4.36 in the 40-yard dash at the start of camp. Senior RG/MLB Nick Costanzo led the team with nearly 90 tackles and is a tri-captain with Casey and Desiderio.
Sept. 2 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Olean, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Burgard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. East Aurora/Holland, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Lewiston-Porter, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Pioneer Panthers (5-4)
Coach: Jim Duprey, 16th season
Home field: Pioneer Turf Stadium
Program founded: 1971
Outlook: The Panthers are notoriously a run-first team, but returning personnel could allow Duprey to open up the offense a bit. Mike Rigerman is a two-way standout at tight end and middle linebacker. The 6-foot-2 junior recorded 103 tackles and caught 19 passes for 510 yards and five TDs last season. Junior quarterback Nick Rinker is back and eager for more opportunities in the passing game. Senior RB/LB Caleb Riordan has been a starter since ninth grade and will pick up a lot of the load on offense for departed All-WNY third team RB Todd Thompson. Seniors Derek Biscaro and Emery Marsh are forces along both lines.
Sept. 2 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. East Aurora/Holland, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Lewiston-Porter, 6 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. Springville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. Burgard, 7 p.m.